The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Letters to Editor

The show goes on

Sir — The Narendra Modi government has always been unapologetic about the Gujarat carnage. But one never realized how utterly shameless it was till one read the report, “Rs 100 to remake a lost home” (August 23). Numerous such hundred-rupee cheques must have been disbursed by the Modi government to pull the wool over the eyes of human rights commissions and non-governmental organizations. On paper, Modi had met his commitment to rebuild the lives of the thousands of Muslims he and his partymen had destroyed. The elections had been won, the voice of the opposition silenced and Modi had got a dignified entry into the limelight abroad. So what is there to worry' The Mehrunissa Sheikhs can continue to wave their cheques for all to see and the Zahira Sheikhs can threaten to try the Modi government again. For Narendra Modi, the day has been won. There is only the yatra to worry about once he returns with the urns of a long-forgotten freedom fighter.

Yours faithfully,
Chittrabhanu Mazumdar, Calcutta

Drama company

Sir — In a parliamentary democracy, tabling of a no-confidence motion is serious business. In a large democracy like ours, it evokes special significance. But the two-day marathon discussion cost Parliament precious time, tax payers’ money and turned out to be a dress rehearsal for the impending assembly elections in five states. Quite obviously, the no-trust motion had been an effort to project Sonia Gandhi as the prime ministerial candidate. Yet at the end of the day, a disunited opposition failed to rally behind the Congress leader. In contrast, the entire National Democratic Alliance stood rock solid behind Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The day the Congress charged Vajpayee with failure on all fronts, the sensitive index, for the first time in three years, crossed the 4,000 mark. There were projections of the gross domestic product going up. With a healthy monsoon, the agricultural sector is expected to boom. Naturally, there were hardly any takers for Sonia Gandhi’s accusations.

The debate in fact showed up many chinks in the Congress armour. First, the whole nation saw Sonia Gandhi’s inability to speak extempore once again. I disagree with the viewpoint of the editorial, “Score sheet” (August 19), which says that apart from toting up scores of the best debater, the no-confidence motion seldom achieves anything else. The John F. Kennedy versus Richard Nixon debate had put Nixon on the mat and helped Kennedy win the elections. Another point. Peru had allowed a foreigner, Alberto Fujimori, to become its president with disastrous results. India should not follow in its footsteps.

Yours faithfully,
Tapan Das Gupta, Calcutta

Sir — It was very difficult to judge which side was the winner of the drama competition held in the Lok Sabha recently. To my mind, Manohar Joshi, the speaker emerged the clear winner because of the way he managed the unruly house. The fact that a veteran like Atal Bihari Vajpayee congratulated him for having conducted the difficult debate only proves my point.

What we saw live from Parliament was muckraking. Most of the speakers felt they had vindicated their stand by passing some controversial remark and waiting for the other side to explode. Point of order was raised innumerable times. There was no respect for sensible leaders like Chandra Shekhar. Raghuvansh Prasad Singh was audacious enough to challenge his authority although the speaker had granted Shekhar the opportunity to guide the house. It was a mockery of parliamentary decorum when Ramdas Athawale continued to recite his poetry to fulfil the need of a joker in the house.

The sole purpose of telecasting such events had been to discipline parliamentarians. Now the presence of the electronic media in the house has become an occasion for parliamentarians to prove the strength of their vocal chords. There is no point now in telecasting such events, they send wrong signals to the youth.

Yours faithfully,
Govind Das Dujari, Calcutta

Sir — The no-confidence motion should have really worried the nation. Despite the talk of patriotism, national security, and people’s rights, the real fight was over who had more right to loot the people. Coalition politics may have replaced the dynastic monopoly over politics, but it has cartelized politics. Post-Jawaharlal Nehru, the Congress has become a corporate body using the Nehru-Gandhi name as its USP. But its face does not sell. Sonia Gandhi, giggling while reading her “charge sheet”, resembled a girl at a junior school drama rehearsal. There was no sign of her political commitment. The whole confidence-building exercise of the NDA too appeared contrived.

There can be no doubt that the nation is facing a serious imbalance in its twin goal of progress and poverty-alleviation. While the Bharatiya Janata Party may rejoice its success in information technology, it is not prepared to face the fact that the majority of India’s poor population is going through the worst time ever. The NDA speakers could not convince the millions who watched the live telecast that India’s defences are battle ready. Public spectacles like these show up our frailties to predators across the border.

Yours faithfully,
Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai

Sir — It will be in public interest to take action against all parliamentarians who use the house space to get free publicity. Parliamentary proceedings should strictly adhere to the norms and video-tapes kept of it.

Yours faithfully,
S.C. Agrawal, Delhi

Sir — Before bringing a no-confidence motion in Parliament, the opposition should place itself on a firm footing so that it can win the motion with a thumping majority. This is possible only when some MPs from the smaller coalition parties support the motion. Such a thing is not likely to happen in the NDA.

Yours faithfully,
Udita Sen, Calcutta

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